Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is letting some characters get really expressive with their options. It’s rare that Wizards of the Coast allows such weird options for their 5E classes! So, the College of Creation comes along, and it’s pretty wacky! As a Bard of Creation, you believe that music can give anything life. When you perform, you leave a town with more than just an impression; you leave them with objects that are musically empowered, whining with soft energy. Perhaps this leads you to a puppeteer job, or magician… But in any case, this might be a strange choice for adventuring! If you want to bring them on a quest, check out our College of Creation guide for some bardic inspiration!
Build Your Reality: College of Creation 5E
The Creation Bard is a hard support role, big surprise. But, the support role that it fills in is one of a niche category. Rather than filling the role of most bards, and simply pumping numbers in combat, the Creation Bard literally builds solutions. They are the ultimate problem-solving bard, and can make sessions really fun… But like most problem solvers in this vein, DMs have a ton of leeway for determining your usefulness.
Mote of Potential
Don’t worry, though; this class isn’t all random utility! At level 3, when you give Bardic Inspiration, it manifests as a floating little mass around the character’s head. When they spend it, they gain an additional benefit, based on what they spent it on.
Ability Check. When the creature rolls the Bardic Inspiration die to add it to an ability check, the creature can roll the Bardic Inspiration die again and choose which roll to use, as the mote pops and emits colorful, harmless sparks for a moment.
Attack Roll. Immediately after the creature rolls the Bardic Inspiration die to add it to an attack roll against a target, the mote thunderously shatters. The target and each creature of your choice that you can see within 5 feet of it must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC or take thunder damage equal to the number rolled on the Bardic Inspiration die.
Saving Throw. Immediately after the creature rolls the Bardic Inspiration die and adds it to a saving throw, the mote vanishes with the sound of soft music, causing the creature to gain temporary hit points equal to the number rolled on the Bardic Inspiration die plus your Charisma modifier (minimum of 1 temporary hit point)
Wow, that’s a lot of versatility, and you get it for every single Bardic Inspiration die you use!
These are all quite useful. Being able to roll two and take the highest result on an ability check is obviously important. When you roll a d12, you want to roll twice to avoid getting the 1 low roll. Honestly, that option would have been good for any of these! But, this is such a good improvement to your out-of-combat usefulness.
The attack roll bonus is also great, but not exactly perfect. Adding your Bardic Inspiration to (essentially) attack and damage is great, but it’s no reroll on the dice. On the bright side, you deal damage in a very small area of effect, and can probably catch one or two extra enemies… But, it also allows for a Constitution saving throw, which is fairly common amongst enemies. So it’s a small amount of damage with a save. Still, great! And it’s not like you’re spending any resources to activate this effect!
The saving throw bonus is also pretty wonderful! Bardic Inspiration plus Charisma Modifier will always give your ally a reasonable amount of temporary HP. Sure, it won’t scale too well, but if you roll high in the late game you can give upwards of 17 temp HP! That’s really good, and using Bardic Inspiration on saves can become really worth it as a defensive option.
Once again, this costs no additional resources (other than the bardic inspiration). That’s awesome, so use it as you please.
Performance of Creation
And now we start getting to the utility. Also at level 3, you gain this ability.
As an action, you can channel the magic of the Song of Creation to create one nonmagical item of your choice in an unoccupied space within 10 feet of you. The item must appear on a surface or in a liquid that can support it. The gp value of the item can’t be more than 20 times your bard level, and the item must be Medium or smaller. The created item disappears after a number of hours equal to your proficiency bonus.
You can only use this once per long rest, or by spending a 2nd level spell slot (or higher). Creating a new item with this feature destroys the item you had previously. And finally, you get to make Large items at level 6, and Huge items at level 14.
This is ungodly useful. You start with a storage of 60 gold, which is enough for… most things. Equipment doesn’t tend to be too much more expensive than that! And having that extra pocket change lying around for you to do whatever you want for a few hours is fantastic!
Say, for example, your Fighter needs to climb a mountain, but doesn’t have Athletics proficiency (for some reason). A Climber’s Kit might make the Fighter’s climb much easier, but who packs a climber’s kit? Well, now you can! Or, maybe your Cleric is fighting a creature that is immune to bludgeoning damage and needs a knife, but you guys didn’t pack a slashing weapon! Well, suddenly, you guys did pack a slashing weapon! And it hums with your bardic magic, singing to your cleric about how stupid they are.
You can make a theoretically massive amount of items or equipment, as long as you can find what you want to make. The gold restriction will come into play if you want to make a Large Iron Block to lock down a doorway, for example. But, as long as you can haggle with your DM and figure out the money in the world… you can make this feature become a staple of your entire party!
This does bring up another problem. Earlier, I talked about a Climber’s Kit… but a DM might disagree that that’s a single item, and instead say it’s a collection of items. This is entirely a DM decision, since it’s listed as a single item and there’s no place where you can see singular aspects of a Climber’s kit, for instance. Talk with your DM about what items are allowed before you start really abusing this ability.
This is only good for the spell slot in emergencies; 2nd level spells tend to be better than your typical “climbing kit” or “here’s a morningstar”. Use this when you have to, though, since solving problems is a big part of D&D.
At level 6, you are able to turn an item into a weapon!
As an action, you can target a Large or smaller nonmagical item you can see within 30 feet of you and animate it. The animate item uses the Dancing Item stat block, which uses your proficiency bonus (PB). The item is friendly to you and your companions and obeys your commands. It lives for 1 hour, until it is reduced to 0 hit points, or until you die.
You must spend a bonus action on each turn to make it do something more than Dodge, but it moves and takes reactions normally. If you spend Bardic Inspiration, that is a bonus action in which you can activate your item. This is once per day, or a 3rd level spell slot. Similar to Performance of Creation, you can still only have one of this at a time.
Hoo! So, you’ve gotten yourself a Cleric’s Spiritual Weapon now! This thing is fairly tanky, at 16 Armor and 10 + (5x bard level) health. It flies, is immune to most things that wouldn’t effect objects, and can understand languages!
Irrepressible Dance is… fine? It can slow down or speed up movement speed from creatures that walk near. Nice for your barbarian to get into the fight, for your Wizard to run away, or to stop a bloodthirsty vampire from sprinting all the way into your party. It doesn’t allow a save (since it’s a pretty minor effect), so if you position perfectly it can be legitimately helpful.
The attack of the dancing item is pretty cool! It’s melee-range, but uses your spell attack to swing, and deals a solid 1d10 + your Proficiency Bonus for damage. That’s not incredible, but a +6 to a d10 Force damage will hurt a lot. We love force damage here, for good reason, since it isn’t resisted by most monsters.
This will be a critical tool for most dungeons, since it’s a relatively valid summon with good health that you don’t care about. Make sure to always use your daily limit, and then consider using spell slots. It’s not always better than a third level spell, but summons tend to be quite good.
Your capstone simply helps your item-summoning abilities. At level 14, you release your inhibitions, and are much better at making items.
When you use your Performance of Creation feature, you can create more than one item at once. The number of items equals your Charisma modifier (minimum of two items). If you create an item that would exceed that number, you choose which of the previously created items disappears. Only one of these items can be of the maximum size you can create; the rest must be Small or Tiny.
You are no longer limited by gp value when creating items with Performance of Creation.
That’s right, time to throw canoes all over the place!
So you can make one huge item of any gold piece value, and then a bunch of small or tiny items. By this point, you should probably have 20 Charisma (on a good day), which gives you 5 items of your choosing.
This is when the soft singing of the items come into play; it’ll be hard to pawn the items off on anyone who knows anything about Bards of Creation, since the items are literally humming songs. However, a gullible shopkeep with a ton of money might give you a handy sum for your fake stuff!
This doesn’t raise the spell level of your Performance of Creation at all. Now we have a reason to spend 2nd level spell slots! This is a ton of value if you need to solve any problems, since most Kits are “small” items. This can really help you get people over obstacles or dive through windows.
However, once again, this can be pretty contingent on your DM. Is a “kit” an item, or only pieces of a kit? What about Plate Armor? Plate armor has gauntlets and boots that are theoretically different than the actual armor itself. This is a bunch of DM intervention, especially for more complex items like Firearms.
Best Race for Creation Bards
Creation bards want Charisma just as much as any other Bard. Charisma is how they increase their DCs, their spell attack rolls, their ability to talk to people, etc. Creation Bards do get a little boost because of their level 14 ability… but most Bards rely on Charisma even more. After Charisma, the world is your oyster. Bards tend to prefer Dexterity due to having Light Armor proficiency.
Well, this is a weird race for this college! Scourge Aasimar from the Volo’s Guide to Monsters are extremely useful as a Creation Bard. They have +2 Charisma, +1 Constitution; perfect. Celestial Resistance keeps you safe, Healing Hands is good for an emergency heal, and Light keeps your dark-blind allies from panicking. Their Radiant Consumption ability might sound bad for a Bard, but your extra health and your Summon will keep you safe as you pulse dangerous energy at enemies. Besides, who better to want to create items than fallen angels?
Mark of Shadow Elf
Why specifically Mark of Shadow? Well, these Dragonmarked Elves from Eberron: Rising from the Last War are utility geniuses. Besides the standard stuff from elves, these elves have the Cunning Intuition ability, which adds a d4 to Performance and Stealth checks. That lets you become the loudest song in the room, or the quietest soul in the night. Shape Shadows gives the Bard Minor Illusion and Invisibility, two essential spells on the repertoire. The spells that the Mark of Shadow grant are all useful, out-of-combat abilities that you’d likely want as a Bard… Though admittedly, you only benefit from getting Darkness and Pass without Trace. Good spells, but a bit of a waste. At least you’re mysterious enough to want to create your own things!
Conclusion – Our Take on the Creation Bard
Creation bards are really cool, but require a lenient DM to be as useful as possible. If you want to try out a strange support build with awesome potential, this is it! Try to have an experienced DM, and keep your PHB or equipment website open while you play.